Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Claim of Right

Honours Of Scotland

My intention was to write about the Claim of Right for Scotland which Alex Salmond mentioned in his conference speech at the weekend.  The First Minister intends to take the Claim of Right to Scotland's parliament next month and give Labour and LibDem MSPs the opportunity to rededicate their parties to its finest sentiments about the sovereignty of the Scottish people.

However, on Twitter, I found the following by a tweeter of slightly differing political views to myself and thought it far too eloquent to be confined only to that media.  Keri, the composer, has given her permission for me to reproduce it here and I offer her my sincere thanks.

For those not acquaint with Scottish political matter, the Claim of Right for Scotland document has never had any legal force and remains a statement of popular opinion.

#sp4 #snp11 #Scotland Claim of Right 2011 

One part of Alex Salmond’s speech at Inverness which has so far not received much attention from the unionist media, possibly because they simply didn’t understand its significance, was the bit about the Claim of Right.

The principle that, in Scotland, sovereignty rested with “the community of the realm” was stated in the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, and subsequently enacted into the law of the land by the Scottish Parliament of 1326.
This principle was again asserted in 1689, when a Scottish Constitutional Convention convened, deposed King James the Seventh, and offered the throne jointly to his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. This convention, which subsequently became the Scottish Parliament, based its right to depose James on the principle of sovereignty resting with the community of the realm as stated in the Declaration of Arbroath.
In 1988 a new Scottish Constitutional Convention was convened, in which, as well as local authorities, and churches, and trades unions, and representatives of smaller parties such as the Greens, MPs belonging to the Labour Party and the LibDems played a prominent part. This new Scottish Constitutional Convention stated a Claim of Right to a Scottish Parliament, based on the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. An actual Claim of Right was drawn up, stating the sovereignty of the people of Scotland, which was signed by every Labour MP except Tam Dalyell, if I remember correctly. Some of them may have had misgivings about signing, and some may have signed reluctantly. So did many of the folk who signed the USA’s Declaration of Independence. The point is, they signed.
Alex Salmond now says he intends to put an updated version of the 1988 Claim of Right, asserting the sovereignty of the people of Scotland, before the Scottish Parliament within weeks rather than months, and invite all MSPs to sign it. The point of this will be to assert that it is up to the Scottish Parliament, not Westminster, to organise any referendums on the future of Scotland.
This is an offer the Labour and LibDem MSPs can’t refuse, without saying either that they or their colleagues were being dishonest in 1988, or that they have changed their minds and no longer consider the people of Scotland to be sovereign. 


subrosa said...

Sorry folks, I'm trying to fix the comments system and appear to have deleted the ones here. My apologies to William and Michele.

Brian said...

Rather like the Sovereign Mercia manifesto.

subrosa said...

Yes indeed Brian. I hadn't heard of that before. Thanks.

Related Posts with Thumbnails